It’s my birthday today. Yeaaaah!!
I am fifty-two. It was two years and one day ago that those faithful words were uttered in my direction,
“It’s not good news and you cannot, not do anything about it’
Ripping my little world apart. Ahhhh, bless.
Not one to dwell on it, I shall be spending my big day with a Spiderman Victoria sponge cake, building a model Star Trek Voyager and for dinner a pandemic bag of fish and chips. The Uber delivered fish and chips being a rare and eye wateringly expensive indulgence.
A week ago, I had a Deja Vue moment. I wondered how I managed to find myself back, for the second time, derrière exposed on the surgery bench as I did almost exactly two years ago.
Back then however it wasn’t in the middle of a deadly pandemic and my journey to the doctors was much more straight forward. I had called the doctor’s surgery to say that I had a few episodes of slight bleeding from the secret end of my anatomy after going to the toilet (well secret excluding the familiarity of Dr C, his student doctor and a happily unseen dangerous-looking prostate biopsy gun). The episodes were so spaced apart over years and months, I didn’t initially think it was a problem. Then it happened four times within ten days, I decided I should make the call. At best my body could just be telling me I’m an old git with hemorrhoids or else it steadily gets worse.
Cheery old blog this then 😊
The streets were as empty as a blockbuster armageddon film, minus the zombies. Well, there were a few people who may have been going to an audition. Unkempt hair and uncontrolled facial growth stubbornly sneaking out and under an assortment of face masks.
The men were looking grim too.
The busses had an eerie coldness about them. With very few passengers, non-existent chatter and everyone on high alert for that single cough or sneeze. No-one is even yelling into their phones anymore. Even the drivers are now barricaded in their little cabs to keep them away from the dodgy passengers.
Once I got to the surgery the door was bolted shut, with a burly receptionist wedged behind the door. Just in case the locals had put together a battering ram made out of that valuable scarce commodity called toilet paper. The new procedure to gain entry is first you need to get an appointment. A job all on its own. When you are then physically outside the surgery you need to call the surgery again and tell them that you are outside the door. The doctor then has to physically come and escort you inside and then back outside at the end of the appointment. I’m not sure if it’s because they want to ensure your potentially disease-ridden self is truly gone and not hidden in some cupboard or just in case you might try to make off with a heart monitor in your back pocket.
“If you could pull your knees up a little bit more please,” the doctor said as I lay on the paper-covered bench. I had already introduced myself to the wall and nonchalantly studied its texture. Then the doctor apologised, said he didn’t have something and left the room. Hmmm, so with my pants locked around my ankles, I had to wonder. Is this how a deer that had trapped its leg in some thick tree roots while rummaging in the woods, would be feeling? About two minutes or so later he came back and did the deed. To give a dental analogy, if my first prostate examination was like being held down by two heavily tattooed henchmen and extracting a wisdom tooth with rusty pliers – this was a top model gently putting a mirror in my mouth, giving me a wink and a sugarless sweet at the end of my appointment.
The doctor confirmed that I had indeed been ‘de-prostated’. Always good to know that the last two years have not been a Dallas style bad dream. He couldn’t see any tears or fissures in said secret place. I just need to keep an eye on it for the next six weeks and if it persists then I will have an appointment with some ominous probe thingy.
He asked me when did I have my prostate removed. I said two years ago and gave him the story about how it all came about. It turns out he remembered me as I had spoken to him over the phone when I tried to get the identity of the doctor that initially asked me if I wanted to have a PSA test. Turns out he is a good friend of Dr A. I said I just wanted to thank him in person and couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to talk to me. Well, I passed on my gratitude and a couple of my blog cards.
Thank you, Dr A. I am still holding out for that interview with you!
I ventured back out into the cold Armageddon, not really any more reassured than when I went in.
Sadly, the virus-related deaths came in twos.
One of the workers of the local convenience shop, only a couple of minutes away, died of the virus. I didn’t know his name before then. He was someone who I had always exchanged a cheerful hello and small talk with over more than eight years. Apparently, one day he had a cough in the store. They sent him home and within two weeks he was dead. The shoppers put together a collection to show he was appreciated. It was quite a shocker to us all. Kumar, we shall miss you.
My last post in December of 2018 was the story of DeeDee’s dad, Richard, in the blog [32. The Other Side]. Basically, Richard’s prostate cancer had metastasized. That means it had broken out of the protective coating of the prostate and has spread to other organs. However, when we had the interview he either didn’t understand this when he was being told by the doctors or he wasn’t told in the first place. I couldn’t believe for a second that he had not been told. I did offer to go along with him to his next appointment, which he declined. It wasn’t my place to give him my opinion. I did urge him to talk to his doctors again. All I could do was tell DeeDee of my suspicions and suggest to her that she goes to his next appointment.
He confirmed my suspicions when I did a follow-up chat a couple of months later and he told me that the doctors had canceled the operation that he had been scheduled for. He was happy and thought that it was a good thing that he didn’t need the surgery anymore.
Quite the opposite.
He died last week. Just before that he would complain of pains in his legs. From the little that DeeDee told me the doctors confirmed the cancer was in his bones. On top of that, he had contracted coronavirus which seemed to speed up his demise.
RIP Kumar and Richard
As you may well know, I am a fan of Thunderbirds (Back in the days when that was the staple entertainment for young innocent minds. Not like the rubbish ‘tock tic’ phone video nonsense that is all the rage for the youth now). I was talking to one of my daughters about something or another and I told her my story about Thunderbird Two. I was a young nipper, sweet and innocent aged about seven or eight years old. My mum had bought me the Corgi Thunderbird Two that had the detachable pod with Thunderbird Four inside. So proud of it I was. I made the mistake of bringing it to school. An older boy asked me if he could have a look at it and he would bring it back in a minute. He walked off with it to show his friends.
You can guess the rest.
I could never identify him and never saw it again. The version of this story I gave to my daughter was longer and more poignant. She looked me in the face, lovingly stroked my arm before bursting into laughter, long and hard. She got some mileage out of my story with the laughter continuing along with the mocking chorus of ‘poor daddy’ for a couple of days. It was then I said sod it and decided that I would turn back time and buy myself another one. However, forget the little one that I previously had, I was going for the twenty-inch ‘bad boy’ version, with a big detachable pod and sound effects. If you are going to do it mate do it well! It was missing the Thunderbird Four in the pod but I didn’t care. Less than a week later, the courier guy had passed at arm’s length the ‘radioactive box’. It was in my hands. I had shared with the two younger spogs what I had purchased, and they shared my excitement.
I removed the postal wrapping and sat momentarily, allowing that sweet nostalgia to partially sweep over me. I say partially as it was interrupted by a little, heavy pair of hands dive-bombing in, that was unfortunately attached to my son. He could barely contain his glee at this great new shiny toy. He squealed when he discovered it made different sounds but I thought he was going to faint when he discovered the detachable bay. For the next thirty minutes before his bedtime I sat there and grimaced, sucking laboured air through bitten lips as the pod fell or slammed into one object or surface after another. Then his new found favorite toy had to accompany him to bed and had to be within his line of sight. I actually did really well and took all of this on the chin, hoping that it was just today’s excitement.
Alas, better was to come.
For the rest of the week Thunderbird Two, more suited to transporting leaking drums of the highly explosive Dicloratehydroethene-Six, battling freak earthquakes threatening the local school or rescuing passengers stranded on partially submerged monorails, had its role blasphemously changed. It was now the number one mode of transport for one-armed dubious dolls, an assortment of soft bears, partial lego figures and flea-ridden dogs from Paw Patrol. I could only look on in horror. I had to walk away when he suddenly decided that it’s powerful rocket thrusters were to be replaced with a car ‘vroom vrooms’ accompanied with an erratic flight trajectory.
It was to be a long, hard week until it fell out of favor. I am still trying to work out how I am going to sneak past him the replacement Thunderbird Four I had already ordered and is on its way.